What about yeast (candida)?

So what’s the story on systemic yeast infection and weight gain or inability to lose weight?  Dr. Robert Atkins considered it a significant and usually unexplored cause of weight problems.  It’s featured prominently in an interesting book called The Harcombe Diet.  A systemic candida infection causes carbohydrate cravings because the yeast in your body wants to be fed.  The only way to get it under control is to stop feeding it, but sometimes even that isn’t enough.  Various supplements can further help kill off the overgrowth and restore better gut balance.

But is this for real?  I remember in the late 80′s a long list of ailments were blamed on systemic yeast infection and I knew lots of people on yeast elimination eating plans.  And I had a phone consultation with a regular doctor, but one who was at least conversant with low carb eating, who told me that the only people he’d ever seen with systemic yeast infections were AIDS patients at an advanced stage of the disease.

Well, it turns out that that doctor is correct as far as the allopathic model of medicine goes–yeast issues are not acknowledged in that model until they reach the extreme of an AIDS patient or other patient with a severely compromised immune system that allows the yeast to multiply to the point that it is visible.  However, naturopathic physicians routinely treat what an allopathic physician would consider a sub-clinical yeast infection–one that doesn’t show up on standard testing–but nonetheless causes significant problems for the patient, and they observe that those patients improve when the yeast condition is treated.

In Juliana’s case, she is severely allergic to mold.  Yeast and mold are co-reactors; being allergic to mold suggests she is also sensitive to yeast.   She had already been on a low carb eating plan that should have “starved the yeast,” but what if she needed more?  I talked the naturopathic physician into beginning a protocol of supplements to attack yeast.  But Juliana couldn’t tolerate the supplements–in addition to being hard to swallow, she had bad tasting reflux and burps from them for hours afterward.

We decided to try a test to see if we could identify a measurable sub-clinical yeast problem.  If we could, then we’d try a single supplement to attack it rather than the multiple supplement protocol she had been taking, and see if she tolerated that better.  There is a blood test and an accompanying stool test.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the stool test before she left for summer camp.  (Now I know that stool tests have to be delivered to the lab before the morning fedex cutoff so that they can be overnighted to the testing facility, and only on a Monday through Thursday morning.  It would be helpful if they put that information on the test itself).  So for the moment, we’re not working on yeast.

 

 

 

To succeed, maximize your failure rate…

I’m surprised to find I haven’t posted anything since February.  Not because we haven’t been busy, but because nothing we have tried recently has yet helped.  Juliana remains stuck at an unhealthy weight, and at risk for metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.  Although the low carb eating plan has helped tremendously, I am convinced there is still something else going on that has been ameliorated but not eliminated by low carb eating.

In the next few posts, I will review things we’ve done that have failed.  I hope that our failures might be as informative for others as our successes.

 

Chef loses 55 pounds by, yes, cutting carbs

Here’s another one like the Paula Deen story:

How did a professional chef lose 55 pounds? Jesse Schenker, chef at Recette, consulted Dr. Stephen Gullo, a psychologist. “Dr. Gullo told the chef that he was a “finisher,” someone for whom mere contact with a basket of bread, a box of doughnuts or a bag of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish would lead, inevitably, to the inhaling of its complete contents.” And what are all those foods? Refined carbohydrates.

And what did Dr. Gullo say Mr. Schenker could eat? Protein and fat: “The trick was to provide Mr. Schenker with something different to inhale. Sugar and other carbohydrates were out. Certain fats were discouraged. Shrimp, salmon, egg whites and Greek yogurt were in.”

Mr. Schenker says: ““I’m still a finisher and I’m still eating at 1 in the morning,” he said. What he’s eating, though, might be a big bowl of shrimp.”

Not only that, but Mr. Schenker regularly goes on eating tours of New York to check out the competition. The article describes him visiting 5 restaurants and eating at each–heading home, comfortably full, after midnight.

Exercise?  Not so much. “Trips to the gym are not part of Mr. Schenker’s repertory; he tried that and didn’t like it.”

Notwithstanding eating research and no exercise, the chef has lost a fifth of his body weight.  And what has he cut out?  Carbs.  Am I the only one who is seeing low carb everywhere?

 

 

Overcome obstacles with information

Every low carb eating book, article, and blog (including ours!) has a section on overcoming obstacles. Here is a sampling of some of the things that could be interfering with weight loss even when a low carb eating plan is being followed:

Food allergies or intolerances (especially dairy and wheat)
Stress or elevated cortisol levels even without stress
Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease
Yeast overgrowth
Thyroid issues
Not drinking enough water
Eating too few carbohydrates (paradoxically)
Eating too many calories overall, even if low carb calories
Medications (prescription and over-the-counter)
Inadequate nutrients to assist fat-burning (remedied by taking supplements, like l-carnitine)

In Juliana’s case, allergy medications and not drinking enough water were definite obstacles. But we’ve addressed those: she stopped taking allergy medication and instead we went to an alternative allergy practitioner who was able to clear up her mold and dust mite allergies without drugs, and she now fills and drinks several large water bottles a day, plus tea and low carb lemonade. But she is nonetheless stuck at her current weight. We tried some supplements, but didn’t notice a change. We tried eating no dairy, but didn’t notice a change. We honed in on overall calories, making sure she was eating appropriate protein and fat portions, but didn’t notice a change.

Rather than all this trial and error, wouldn’t it be great to have Information specific to your body to guide you? We just got the results of the tests Dr. Hopewell ordered for Juliana.

Lots of them were completely normal. Fasting insulin levels, cortisol levels, and thyroid function were all normal. Cholesterol was in range and most of the LDL cholesterol was the big fluffy kind. She did not show markers of Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease.

This was good and bad news. It’s good that she doesn’t have a hormonal imbalance or a thyroid problem. But it was bad because there was no smoking gun to explain her weight stall. However, there was one more set of results–the food allergy panel. Despite not having eaten gluten or wheat for 10 months, Juliana tested positive for wheat and gluten allergies. (Ordinarily food allergy reactions diminish over time when the food is not consumed). She tested positive for allergies to chicken and egg whites, and very positive for egg yolks. Since she has been eating 2 to 4 eggs every day, that could be a problem.

We are now trying an elimination eating plan where the offending foods are removed for a month. At the same time, Juliana is taking supplements to improve her gut health, since the wheat and gluten allergies may have caused leaky gut issues.

 

 

Paula Deen goes low carb

Has anyone else noticed that Paula Deen, a celebrity chef who is known for creating things like a cheeseburger sandwiched between two donuts, has gone low carb?  And lost 40 pounds?  She and her family are on the cover of People magazine this week.  After developing Type II diabetes, she cut way back on carbohydrates.  Now a half slice of bread is a big treat.  One of her sons’ comments in the article that everything he used to eat with bread he now eats with lettuce instead.  Sounds at least less-carb to me.  They mention other factors, like portion control.

Portion control and low carb eating go hand-in-hand.  It’s much easier to control your portions eating in a low carb style.  It’s very hard to drastically overeat meat and vegetables, whereas it’s easy to eat an entire box of cookies or a whole loaf of bread.  Not sure the Deens realize it, but they’ve joined the low carb club.